- Client : Nick Maile, UBC Properties Trust
- Project Team : Shelley Craig, Jennifer Marshall, Matthew Halverson, David Cromp
- City : Vancouver
- Country : Canada
Text description provided by the architects. The 935 sqm University of British Columbia Engineering Student Centre is a home away from home - a place to collaborate, create and build a community. Established in collaboration with the Engineering Students, the vision was to create an iconic building that celebrates the science, skill and art of engineering.
The design is rooted in Engineering culture and tradition while looking to the future. It is founded on the Engineering Undergraduate Society’s new paradigm –supporting engagement in local and global initiatives while embracing a multi-disciplinary and sustainable approach to Engineering. In response, the Student Centre has been designed as a “living lab” to showcase innovative engineering strategies. Key concepts included pushing the limits of wood construction, implementing passive design strategies, demonstrating building systems through absence, and creating a healthy, inclusive social space.
ESC demonstrates a sustainable engineering mandate through a minimal systems approach - highlighting innovation through absence.
The passive design approach maximized the environmental benefits of the site and created a vibrant social zone at the heart of the Engineering Precinct. Located in an existing courtyard and surrounded by 2-6 storey concrete buildings, the ESC is a transparent beacon displaying the social activities within. Designed to host events from 2 persons to 400, the building was sited to maximize sunny exterior courtyard areas for gathering supporting indoor-outdoor connectivity.
ESC is also sited to take advantage of the micro-climate of the courtyard, using the shading from the existing buildings and optimizing the use of localized wind patterns. The cantilevered Nail-Lam roof and 2nd floor address the seasonal sun paths, permitting winter solar gains while limiting solar exposure in the summer, and equally demonstrating the innovative use of the prefabricated Nail-lam roof and 2nd floor structure.
Natural ventilation is achieved through the stack effect, harnessing the constant wind in the courtyard. The radiant heating systems are tied directly to a District Energy System for the heat source, minimizing energy consumption.
Defined by the wood trusses above and the warmth of the exposed NLT ceiling, the ground floor social spaces are the “raw spaces”- a fluid gathering zone for parties, competitions, frosh events, relaxing and gaming. The second floor houses the Engineering Undergraduate Society offices, the study zone, and a roof terrace. These spaces are the “cooked” spaces – a more refined series of linked spaces for meeting, interviews and study.
As a living lab, didactic moments are layered through the project: NLT panels are left visible to reveal their orientation and bearing on the structure. The trusses showcase connections and provide a clear structural diagram of how tension and compression forces are carried through the space. The whole rewards the curious with an opportunity to unpack the structural “magic” that makes the upper floor float and the roof soar
Product Description. Wood was selected as the primary building material to demonstrate the use of renewable local resources; create healthy, compelling spaces; and to display engineering prowess through the use of a mass timber prefabricated structure. The warmth of the wood structure creates a durable, welcoming environment necessary in small pavilion open 24/7.
To condense construction time and to facilitate building in a constrained site, an off-site prefabrication strategy was implemented, including the Nail-lam roof and floor structure and glulam trusses. The trusses suspend the 2nd floor from the roof, creating a column free, open flexible “party” space at the ground floor. Evoking railway trestle bridges, the trusses spatially define the public spaces while framing views within and out. The 2nd floor study zones are located between the trusses, with filter views through the warm wood structure to the atrium below and out to the courtyard.